Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 5232 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM s any plant breeder knows, the key for crop improvement is the availability of crop genetic diversity. To be available for plant breeding, genetic diversity should be well characterised and the related information should be directly available to breeders, along with the tools for its exploitation. Nowadays, the need for genetic diversity to improve our modern varieties is becoming more urgent, as we understand that agriculture has to evolve greatly in the near future. This is due to several factors, which include a significant increase in the world population and the ensuing need for food security, the production of high-quality food for human health, the need to adapt crops to marked variations in climate, and the protection and improvement of the environment. The major challenge here appears to be the adaptation to climate change. Plant adaptation to new environments and to new climate conditions is a set of processes and mechanisms a plant species can effect to overcome susceptibility to adverse conditions, to cope with the new conditions, and to adapt to changes. Since its origin agriculture itself represented a drastic environmental and ecological change with the development of the agroecosystem that contributed to crop domestication. Domestication was followed by crop expansion associated with further environmental changes related to adaptation processes to new environments and human needs. This can be seen by comparing the distribution of wild relatives of a crop and the area of cultivation of domesticated forms, for any given crop. For these reasons, it is crucial for plant geneticists and breeders to have a deeper understanding of the biological processes related to plant adaptation, with the major need being to identify functional elements encoded in a plant’s genome. In the context of climate change, the key aspects for plant breeding are crop diversity and genetic variability, and there is the increasing need to develop incisive strategies for sustainable agriculture. BEAN_ADAPT is a three-year project funded through the second ERA-CAPS call, ERA-NET for Coordinating Action in Plant Sciences, entitled ‘Expanding the European Research Area in Molecular Plant Sciences II’. The main aim is to dissect out the genetic bases and phenotypic consequences of adaptation to new environments by important legumes, such as the common bean and the runner bean. The focus is on studies of their introduction into Europe from their respective centres of domestication in the Americas, and their expansion through Europe, as a recent and historically well-defined event of rapid adaptation. The project will focus on landrace accessions, as these can be associated to specific locations, with the possibility to exploit landscape genetics approaches that can be used to associate environmental variation among collection sites and genomic diversity, to tag genes involved in environmental adaptation. Moreover, BEAN_ADAPT will develop a set of 10,000 pure lines of Phaseolus vulgaris which will be genotyped by genotyping-by- sequencing. This collection will contain a subset of a few hundred representative genotypes (200 to 500) that will also be phenotyped (in multilocation field trials, and under controlled conditions), fully The genetic architecture of adaptation outside centres of domestication of Phaseolus vulgaris and P. coccineus. re-sequenced at the genomic (10×) and transcriptomic levels with gene expression, and analysed at the metabolites level. On this basis, and exploiting the genotyping-by-sequencing data as a ‘zipper’ for all of the 10,000 pure lines, the whole genome and transcriptome will be reconstructed, along with information regarding the putative phenotypic roles of many genes. Indeed, one of the main outcomes of the project will be the development in P. vulgaris of a catalogue of haplotypes of all the 10,000 accessions (‘HapBean’). Along with the associated genomic and phenotypic information and new seed stocks, this will represent a unique tool for plant scientists and crop breeders. Moreover, the cumulative activities that will be performed on the 10,000 pure lines will also progressively increase the amount of available information. For P. coccineus, we will also have a well-defined set of information which will constitute the foundation for the development and application of its genomic resources. These lines will be conserved and distributed to users (i.e. breeders) by the National Research Council’s Institute of Biosciences and Bioresources (IBBR-CNR) in Bari, Italy, which has already formalised an agreement with the BEAN_ADAPT consortium, and by other genebanks interested in participating in these initiatives. The combined availability of the seeds of each accession and the related information can be used by breeders for different purposes, including: • to search for different alleles of a gene that has a known function (function identified in the target or in a related species) and is of potential use, and to obtain a set of germplasm that has the desired alleles composition; • to identify the most adapted genotype (e.g. a specific market class) that has a useful allele validated previously in a different genetic background, with the effect being to speed up the development of a new variety; BY: BEAN_ADAPT CONSORTIUM EVOLUTION IN A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT The Platform for the Co-Development and Transfer of Technologies of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is a supporting initiative to the Programme of Work on Sustainable Use of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which includes in its mission statement, among others, new elements including the following: • a vision of technology co-development and transfer; • the reference to technologies applicable to the germplasm information domain, for instance, genomics data generation, storage and use, in support of the Global Information System of Article 17 of the ITPGRFA; • the value chain approach, according to which the platform would support technology co-development and transfer along the entire value chain, from the distribution of germplasm for research and breeding to the release of new plant varieties to farmers.